Sun | May 29, 2022

‘Strange decision’

JFF board agrees to keep Blaine despite player opposition, mixed reactions abound

Published:Wednesday | May 11, 2022 | 12:11 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Reggae Girlz head coach Vin Blaine speaking to his charges during a training session at the Stadium East field on Tuesday.
Reggae Girlz head coach Vin Blaine speaking to his charges during a training session at the Stadium East field on Tuesday.
Stewart
Stewart
Edwards
Edwards
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WOMEN’S FOOTBALL coach, Charles Edwards, has described the Jamaica Football Federation’s (JFF) decision to keep Vin Blaine on as Reggae Girlz head coach as strange.

Edwards, former coach of many-time national champion, Barbican, noted that the decision is a tricky one and that the federation will now have its work cut out to mend the fractured coach-player relationship, if the team is to stand a chance of qualifying for the World Cup.

However, Bradley Stewart, a former national women’s coach, believes the JFF made the right decision, as players should not be dictating the hiring and firing of coaches.

Just over a week ago, 20 players in the senior Reggae Girlz squad signed a letter to president, Michael Ricketts, asking for the removal of Blaine, going on to cite coaching, communication and organisation concerns.

Blaine refuted the claims, while pointing to outside influences as being responsible for the letter’s viewpoint.

The situation is expected to create a huge rift between Blaine and the players, many of whom he coached as youth players.

Edwards said he has never seen a coach lose a changing room and remain in place, and that it will be interesting to see how things unfold.

“I never saw this decision coming. It is rather strange. It is a tricky situation because the girls went to the level of writing a letter. Vin has refuted the letter but we don’t know what really happened, only that there is a dispute between the players and the coach and he has lost the changing room.

“In all my years of coaching I have never seen a coach lost a changing room in this manner and continue in his job, so it would be interesting to see what happens.”

He added that the federation will have get the parties to reconcile and move forward in the best interest of the team.

“The technical committee has done the easy part. Now how are they going to remedy all of what has taken place? Whether it is true or false, the changing room has been lost, so how are they going to fix it and get things running in order for us to perform at our maximum and qualify for the World Cup,” he said.

MAIN CAUSE OF DISCORD

According to Stewart, the Girlz must accept that they are the main cause of the discord affecting the programme if the team is to move forward with Vin at the head.

“I don’t know if the players considered what they did as irresponsible. If you have a situation you should first take your issues to the management, who has responsibility to deal with these issues, and then the technical director before it goes to the president.

“The president is the final arbiter of all decisions in the JFF. Players do not go to the president or the general secretary for those things,” he said.

“Moving forward all depends on if the girls accept that what they did in essence was the wrong approach.

“I am not saying there is no value in what they have said, but the process they chose to follow was wrong. They have to be honest with themselves and say that they made a mistake.

“They have to accept that a lot of the blame comes from them and be willing to work with the coach. If not, those who cannot work with the coach, let them go,” he said.

In a JFF release on Tuesday, the JFF board said it accepted the technical committee’s recommendation to retain the senior women’s team technical staff, including head coach Vin Blaine and that investigations found insufficient evidence to warrant any change in personnel at this time.

“It’s in the best interest of the JFF to continue on its present course, with the current coaching staff, where the progress will be closely monitored and evaluated periodically.

“The JFF pledges to put everything in place, within its powers, to ensure the team is comfortable and can perform at their optimum to achieve Jamaica’s second consecutive qualification to the FIFA Women’s World Cup,” it read.

The Reggae Girlz will compete for a place in the World Cup and Olympics when they compete at the Concacaf Women’s championship in Mexico in July.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com